Auckland Council chief executive Phil Wilson to cut 14 senior ranking jobs

3 May. Nz Herald, by reporter Bernard Orsman. Fourteen jobs are being cut among the senior ranks at Auckland Council in response to calls from Mayor Wayne Brown to reduce layers of bureaucracy and duplication.

Chief executive Phil Wilson has announced details of what he calls a “modest net reduction in top-tier staffing numbers”.

The leadership team, including Wilson, will be reduced from nine staff to seven, and the other job cuts will come at the general manager level and include support staff.

The shake-up follows more than 500 job losses across the council and council-controlled organisations (CCOs) last year as part of Brown’s first, cost-cutting budget.

Brown said the move would cut the number of senior managers in the top three tiers – chief executive, executive directors and general managers – by 25 per cent and save about $4 million a year.

The job losses at the country’s largest council come as the axe looms over thousands of public servants as the Government seeks big cuts in spending ahead of the Budget and savings of $1.5 billion each year.

In a massive day of slashing across agencies yesterday more than 800 job losses were announced at Kāinga Ora, the Ministry of Education, NZQA, Statistics NZ, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and the Commerce Commission.

Wilson said the top-tier restructure was not simply about slashing jobs and numbers but creating a structure to do things differently.

“I believe we have landed a new structure that will serve us well, create cost efficiencies, deliver our Long-Term Plan, and be the council that Aucklanders need us to be,” he said.

Brown was encouraged Wilson had found efficiencies when the council was in financial difficulty.

“I acknowledge that many people affected by these changes have made a great contribution to Auckland, so this isn’t about that. We have asked the chief executive to find some significant savings, and it’s important this is shared across all levels of the organisation,” he said.

Brown said the savings of $4m would contribute to a $20m target in the Long-Term Plan, alongside consolidating council organisations within council offices, and more shared services.

“Aucklanders want a council that can get things done better, faster, cheaper,” said the mayor.

The restructure was announced in March and proposed dis-establishing more than 40 general manager roles.

Wilson said over three weeks he received more than 600 submissions from staff to the proposed changes.

“This feedback was thoughtful, considered, and ultimately very helpful, and has resulted in some changes to my initial proposal,” he said.

The next stage will see staff apply for jobs in the new structure by the end of June.

“Organisational change is understandably unsettling. I am incredibly proud of the maturity, professionalism and leadership shown by our people during this process, especially those who may be directly affected.

“We intend to implement the new structure with as little disruption to our services and customers as possible,” Wilson said.